Thursday, December 8, 2011
Tango & Cash
At first blush, Tango & Cash seems just like another paint-by-numbers buddy cop movie from the 80s. More than that, it almost seems as though the makers of the movie were adhering to some sort of guy movie checklist when coming up with it: gratuitous tits shot? Check. Pointless series of explosions? Check. After-punch quips aplenty? Check. So what does this movie offer that others of the same genre don't?
The answer is-- aside from Sylvester Stallone's ridiculous wearing of smart-guy glasses-- not much. But this is just it: within T&C's rigid formula is a kind of purity that sets us free-- inviting us to have some beers, relax with some friends and hurl insults and wise cracks at the alternatively absurd, illegal, implausible, gay, and downright suicidal antics of Stallone's Tango and Kurt Russell's Cash. Many a conversation will there be about "what would really happen" if a human being tried to do the things that Tango and Cash attempt throughout the course of the movie; from sliding down a high-tension power line with a belt to being lowered into a drum of electrified water (the dangers of electricity is, inexplicably, a recurrent theme). And it is guaranteed that the room will puzzle over the various plot holes and absurdities encountered along the way... such as why the LAPD has a lavishly funded research and development arm whose only purpose seems to be the attaching of guns to things, or why Teri Hatcher drums during her stripper act, or why the newspapers in LA seem to have some kind of ranking system in place for cops (as in, Tango is the number one cop in LA, and Cash-- whose bust is featured below the fold-- is the number two cop).
Most of the actual elements are incidental: the by-the-book cop wears glasses, the loose cannon wears Hawaiian shirts. The bad guy is Jack Palance, and the whole story revolves around a frame-up or a drug cartel or something. And that's all you need to know, really. The rest is taken care of by the steady drumbeat of one-liners supplied by Tango, Cash-- and you and your buddies.